Linen shirt with colored stripes, white skirt and long braided brown hair, the wife of Philippe Goncalves, on trial since Monday before the Criminal Court of Seine-et-Marne for attempted murder, does not elude any questions, worried about understand the reasons why she was shot in the head at the end of a love and summer picnic in Champs-sur-Marne on June 4, 2017.
Miraculously, she survived. From this drama, it preserves as a sequel a “hole” at the level of the upper part of the cranial box.
Her husband, a building contractor, 39 years old like her, is in the dock.
He is suspected of shooting his wife and then asking an accomplice, hiding in the woods, to shoot her in the shoulder to disguise the crime as an assault. An accusation that this man insists on denying.
At the time, the couple was experiencing turbulence.
A few days after the tragedy and his hospitalization, husband and wife are reunited at home.
As they’re intertwined on her bed, she confesses, “You know, it’s weird for me because you asked me to turn around and that’s when I take the bullet.” “He answered me calmly and quite frankly, she told me it wasn’t him,” the woman in charge said Wednesday.
– And what about him saying that it is not him, was that enough? Questions the president of the court, Muriel Josié.
– At that time, that was enough for me”, confesses the wife.
Today, the miraculous woman considers herself a “collateral victim of her own problems”, evoking the hypothesis of revenge carried out by a creditor of her husband, for debts of which she was unaware at the time.
He considers that “there is no explanation” for the thesis of an assassination attempt by a man with whom “he never felt danger”.
Throughout his wife’s testimony, Philippe Goncalves remains silent, attentive and impassive.
Excommunication “au cas par cas”
They were 19 years old when they met in 2002. While participating in a course to become a psychomotor therapist, she was depressed.
Their meeting “saved her from a painful existence,” believes the psychologist who carried out her first expertise.
He feels a certain admiration for Philippe Goncalves, follows him on his spiritual path and converts to the cult of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a rigorous movement regularly accused of sectarian aberrations. That admiration creates in her “an internal conflict” with “the fact that he could attempt against her life,” the psychologist estimated.
After a marriage and a baptism in 2004, the couple articulates their lives around faith and professional activities, he as a businessman, she as a part-time stewardess and French teacher at home. By mutual consent, they choose not to have children.
Their thirteen years of life together have been described as uneventful, except for the temptations of the husband for extramarital affairs that will glaze their good agreement for the first time in 2015, then again in 2017.
At this moment, Philippe Goncalves’ approach to a colleague revives his wife’s jealousy.
One of the avenues favored by the prosecution is the risk of excommunication of Jehovah’s Witnesses that would have meant a divorce from his wife.
A sect representative said Wednesday that divorce was accepted within the community and that excommunications were made “on a case-by-case basis.”
The businessman maintains his version: the couple was attacked by a mysterious shooter. He would have opened fire on them from the brush, about forty meters from the tree under which they ate and read the Bible.
“I want to trust my husband despite everything. Given the context, it becomes difficult”, confesses the wife who “lives in misunderstanding for four years”.